Sunday, August 27

Build Review: JPG's C1-10P 'Chopper' 'Droid Resin 1/12th scale kit

JPG Productions new C1-10P 'Chopper' Astromech Droid is selling through Tirydium Models, ever the Star Wars and even more so an Astromech 'Droid fan, Andy shows us what comes with this resin kit before he gets to building it in today's review...


Build Review: C1-10P 'Chopper' Astromech Droid
Manufacturer – JPG Productions
Original Master- Stephen Husser
Type – Resin Casting
Scale - 1/12
Price - £25 plus Shipping from Tirydium Models

It's quite possible that Star Wars has never been more popular than it is right now, and all the new films and TV series have brought a wealth of new vehicles and characters that have become firm fan favourites. This increased popularity has had a knock-on effect in the modelling world, where at long last we're seeing plenty of new kits hitting the shelves.
However, the big boys like Bandai and Revell tend to concentrate on the more iconic subjects, meaning some of the lesser known characters get passed by.
That's one area that's always been the preserve of the garage kit makers. Small, often one man operations that produce resin kits of the more obscure subjects that the big companies usually avoid.

That's exactly what we're looking at today, with this new release of Chopper, the cranky astromech from the Rebels animated series, produced by JPG Productions.
For those that aren't familiar with the show, C1-10P or 'Chopper' to his friends is a C1 Astromech 'Droid, similar to R2-D2, but of an older design. He served with the Republic during the Clone Wars, and during one campaign over Ryloth his Y-Wing fighter was shot down. A young Twi'lek girl named Hera Syndulla found and repaired him. When she was older, Hera took command of the Ghost, a modified, and up-armed freighter (sound familiar), with Chopper on board to keep the ship flying. Together with the rest of the crew, they were instrumental in the formation of the Rebellion against the Galactic Empire.
During his travels with the crew of the Ghost, Chopper has crossed paths with many of the famous faces of Star Wars including R2 and 3P0, Lando Calrissian and even Princess Leia. 
He's now moved from his animated roots into the live action world, thanks to his cameo appearance in Rogue One.
The Kit
This is JPG's second foray into 'Droid modelling, having released the fan favourite 'Gonk' 'Droid last year, which came with a bonus mouse droid. That release, and the new Chopper are both made to 1/12, which scales them nicely with the Bandai droid kits that most Star Wars modellers will be familiar with.

The kit arrives in a small, nondescript cardboard box with a simple printed label on the front. Inside the parts are contained in resealable plastic bags buried in polystyrene chips, which do a good job of keeping everything protected.
Apart from the resin castings themselves, you get a small decal sheet and a brief instruction sheet showing you a rough guide to part placement, together with some basic colour call-outs. Lastly, you get a short length of flexible tube to replicate the hose on Chopper's right leg. It's important to bear in mind if you're buying this kit that this isn't going to be a state-of-the-art injection model. Like most garage kits, you'll be expected to do a fair bit of clean-up and tweaking of parts. Having said that, nothing here should be too taxing for anyone with even moderate modelling skills.
Bag 1
In the first bag, you'll find the larger components, including the main body and head, the two legs, and their accompanying feet. These are all solid resin castings which actually makes them quite heavy in comparison to a regular styrene kit. There's quite a bit of flash on the parts, but no casting blocks to remove, which will save a lot of time.
Bag 2
The second bag contains the smaller detail parts, including the manipulator arms and scanning dish that attaches to his head. All of these do have casting blocks, which you'll need to carefully remove with a razor saw. You can probably see one pin hole on the tip of one of the manipulator arms. Pin holes can be common on resin castings, and are caused by air bubbles forming in the resin as it cures in the mould. They're easy enough to fill, but this is the only prominent one I've found on the whole kit, which shows the caster did a good job.

It's worth mentioning at this point for anyone who hasn't worked with resin before that, when sawing and sanding, it's advisable to wear a face mask and keep the room well ventilated. Breathing in resin dust isn't to be recommended.
The decal sheet has been produced on a home printer using clear decal paper. As a result, each decal will need to be carefully trimmed out first, but after that, they can be treated like any conventional decal. The printing is good, if a little basic, but areas like the yellow band on the head could easily be painted anyway. I'd have preferred to see the vent detail on the green and yellow panel decals printed separately, so the panels could be painted instead, but I think there should be ways around that issue.
The small instruction sheet only shows a basic exploded diagram of the parts, but to be honest the construction is so straight forward that you don't really need any more than that. The colour call-outs show Pantone references, which aren't a great deal of use for modelling purposes, so you'll need to match the colours by eye, or to the decals if you're using them.
The Parts
The head looks to be pretty accurate in shape for the most part, although the raised rim around the top isn't entirely accurate. This area should really be flush, with a couple of closely spaced panel lines running around the top edge. Having said that, the digital model used for Rebels is quite simplified, so you could easily argue that the raised lip could be correct for a 'real' Chopper.
One area of the sculpt that's a little disappointing is the very noticeable line partially running around the top of the head. This isn't an intentional panel line, but rather a remnant of the construction of the master model. It really should have been filled and cleaned up on the master before the mould was taken. There are quite a few areas across the model where short cuts have been taken on cleaning up and finishing the master, and these have carried through onto the castings. It's a shame that these final steps weren't taken, as they spoil what is otherwise a very good sculpt.
The body is similar to the head, in as far as the basic proportions are very good, but it's let down slightly by some poor finishing. Some of the panel lines are a little indistinct and will need re-scribing. The surface is also quite rough in places, and needs some sanding to get a smooth finish.
Interestingly, the mounts on each side to which the legs connect use the socket parts from the Bandai astromech kits, although the left-hand one has been sanded to the point where most of the detail has vanished. It's not a problem though, as these areas are covered once the legs are fitted, and using those parts means the legs fit very securely without the need for glue.
Chopper doesn't have the usual third leg that other Astromechs use. Instead, he has a wheel mounted on a bracket, that can be retracted into his body. In the kit, the bracket simply drops into a recess in the bottom of the body. Alternatively, you can leave it off, if you want to show it retracted.
The wheel that's included in the kit looks like it's been made from an existing kit part, most probably a wheel from a 1/72 aircraft kit. There's a rather tell tale ejector pin mark that confirms it's injection kit origins, and again, that's something that really should have been cleaned up on the master.
The two legs are different, and this is completely correct, as Chopper has one replacement leg. The details look to be accurate to the digital animation model and, as mentioned before, they're a nice positive fit into the body sockets. There are a few rough areas on each leg that will need filling and sanding. I hate to keep mentioning this but, again, this is down to poor finishing on the master, rather than any issues with the casting process. There's also some flash, but this should be relatively easy to clean up.
By contrast, the feet are pretty cleanly sculpted. The only slight inaccuracy is the width of the slots for the legs. These should be a little wider, as should the corresponding tabs on the bottom of the legs. It's not a major issue though, and won't show up that much on the finished model.
The remaining small details are reasonably well cast, and for the most part are fairly accurate. They could all be refined a little more if you're so inclined, but they're good enough if you don't want to do the extra work. The only part that really could do with replacing is the mast that holds the scanning dish. Resin can be quite fragile, especially with thin pieces, so it's probably best to replace this with some brass rod, or something similar.
The final part is a flexible tube for the leg hose. There are holes already in place in the right leg and foot, so this should just push into place.
I've probably come across as a little negative while reviewing this kit, and there certainly are some issues with it. It's very much a kit of two halves. On the one hand, the casting is to a good standard with very few air bubbles to deal with. The flash is common to kits of this type, and simple enough to remove. The resin is also of a high quality, being hard but easy to sand and cut, and there's no trace of any mould release agent, although I'd still give the parts a good scrub in soapy water to be on the safe side.

The flip side of this is the rather poor finishing on the master. All it needed was some final filling and sanding, and some refinement of the detail parts, and the kit would have had a far nicer look to it. As it is, those issues are not unusual on this kind of limited production garage kit, and they can be dealt with easily enough.

All that being said, JPG's previous release of the Gonk and Mouse droids shared some of the same issues as this kit, but with a little work, they built up into very respectable models, and sit very nicely alongside the 1/12 droids released by Bandai.
To finish off the review I gave the parts a very quick clean up and temporarily clipped them together, and I've got to say, once he's built up, a lot of those issues become less apparent, and he certainly captures the look of Chopper in the show. I can almost hear his beeps of complaint as he flails his manipulator arms about.
And finally, so you can get a better idea of his size, here he is alongside Bandai's R2. The difference in hight is correct, as Chopper is noticeably short and stocky compared to the later astromechs.
Hopefully, he should look better still with some paint on. Check back soon for a full build and paint guide.

Andy Moore

You can purchase this kit from the Tirydium Models Webstore Directly